A new study conducted by American scientists has examined the risks associated with home births, a move necessitated amid a rise in the number of women opting to deliver at home or at birthing centers.
Published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the study analyzed nearly 80,000 pregnancies in Oregon in an attempt to clear the air on the subject, which is being debated intensely across various platforms. The scientists concluded that when women had planned out-of-hospital deliveries, the probability of the baby dying during the delivery process or in the subsequent first month was 2.4 times as likely as women who had planned hospital deliveries.
Besides, out-of-hospital births also accompanied a higher risk of neonatal seizures and increased the chances that newborn babies would need ventilators or mothers would need blood transfusions.
Based at Oregon Health and Science University, the study team comprised two obstetricians, a nurse, an epidemiologist and a certified nurse midwife.
Jonathan Snowden, an epidemiologist who was the lead author, and his colleagues analyzed 79,727 births in 2012 and 2013. Oregon is one of the places with the country’s highest home birthrate.
Dr. Michael Greene, the chief of obstetrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, said, “The question is what is most important to you and what risks are you willing to accept… We’re not going to pat women on the head and tell them what to do”.